HOUSTON―Observe Saturn's rings, Jupiter's moons, and the Milky Way with your own eyes at the George Observatory, located less than an hour's drive southwest ofHoustoninBrazosBendState Park. Surrounded by the park's natural beauty and home to one of the country's largest telescopes for public viewing, the Observatory is the best place in theHoustonarea to get lost in the cosmos.
"Far away from the lights of the city, the night sky is brilliantly illuminated by millions of stars," said Peggy Halford, director of the George Observatory. "Depending on the time of year, you can clearly see planets, meteor showers, asteroids flying by, and many other cosmic occurrences through the powerful telescopes we have available to the public here."
Starting at dusk every Saturday, visitors to the Observatory can discover the wonders of the night sky through the Observatory's newest telescope. This world-class, 11-inch F/15 refractor was recently mounted on the massive 36-inch, 10-ton Gueymard telescope, which is the largest in the country that is available for public viewing. Two smaller dome telescopes flank this massive eye to the sky.
The Observatory exhibit area and gift shop open to the public every Saturday at 3 p.m. There is a $7 per person charge to enter the park. Admittance into the park is free for children ages 12 and younger.
Viewing the night sky begins at nightfall through the Gueymard telescope and the smaller East/West dome telescopes. Tickets for viewing go on sale at 3 p.m. on a first-come-first-served basis while supply last.
Local astronomers bring portable telescopes to the Observatory deck every Saturday, through which visitors can gaze for free.
The George Observatory is also home to the ExpeditionCenter, at which kids are the crew aboard a simulated space station headed for the moon or to Mars and also work in a mock-up of NASA's Mission Control. Faced with the real-life challenges of a complex space mission, students learn teamwork and communication skills while experiencing the thrill of manned space flight. Flights are scheduled during the hours of 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., Monday through Saturday , and are by reservation only.
For more information, visit www.hmns.org or call (281) 242-3055.